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Ecological Pyramids:

Kaushik Chanda, Ph.D


Assistant Professor
Organic Chemistry Division,
School of Advanced Sciences,
VIT University, Vellore – 14.
Ecological Pyramids:

Ecological Pyramids:
• What is an ecological pyramid?
• Examples of an ecological pyramid.
• Types of ecological pyramids:
 Pyramid of Biomass
 Pyramid of Energy
 Pyramid of Numbers.
Ecological Pyramid
• An ecological pyramid shows the relationship between consumers and
producers at different trophic levels in an ecosystem.

• It Shows the relative amounts of energy or matter contained at each


trophic level.

• Most ecological pyramids are large at the base and narrow at the
top.
This is because every time that an organism is eaten by the next trophic
level. Some of the energy is lost as heat.

• The Pyramid shows which level has the most energy and the highest
number of organisms.
 Which level has the most energy?
 Which level has the least energy?
 Which level has the most organisms?
 Which level has the least organisms?
Ecological Pyramid
3 types of pyramids:

1. Pyramid of Numbers
2. Pyramid of Biomass
3. Pyramid of Energy.
Pyramids of numbers

Pyramids of energy
Pyramids of Biomass
1. Pyramid of Numbers:
Pyramid of Numbers:
Shows the relative number of individual organisms at each trophic level.
2.Pyramid of Biomass:
• Illustrates the amount of biomass in each trophic level.
• Shows the amount of matter lost between trophic levels.
Measured in Kg, grams or pounds.

Biomass weight is determined after dehydration.

Biomass:
The total mass of the organic matter at each trophic level is called biomass.
Biomass is just another term for potential energy – Energy that is to be eaten and used.
The transfer of energy from one level to another is very inefficient (10% Law)
Pyramid of Biomass
3. Pyramid of Energy:
Shows the relative amount of energy available at each trophic level.
The size of the blocks represents the proportion of productivity.
Measured in Joules or Calories.
• Most of the energy available to the community is in the 1st trophic level.
• Only 10-20% of the energy is available to the next trophic level (≈ 90% lost)
Summary of the Pyramid Relationships
Energy Pyramid:
Shows the relative amount of energy available at each trophic level.
Organisms use about 10 percent of this energy for life processes.
The rest is lost as heat.
Pyramid of Numbers
Shows the relative number of individual organisms at each trophic level.

Biomass Pyramid
Represents the amount of
living organic matter at each
trophic level. Typically, the
greatest biomass is at the
base of the pyramid. 12